The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), has advised cassava processors to always wear safety gear and equipment while processing cassava products.
The State Programme Coordinator, Mr Samuel Adeogun, gave the advice at the training programme organised for processors in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
Adeogun, who was represented by Mr Williams Adewunmi, Agro processing and enhancement officer, IFAD, urged participants to practice hygienic way of processing garri and other products.
He said the safety equipment include: safety jacket, safety ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves and safety boots, which would help protect them from any work hazard.
He advised the participants to ensure that the working environment and drainage are kept clean at all time.
Programme coordinator also added that machines, which could cause danger to human should be properly covered after use for safety measures.
Adeogun, however, urged the processor to make use of what they are taught and also make use of the personal protective equipment given to them.
He explained that the training of the cassava processors on safety and hygienic measures was aimed at ensuring healthy and safety practices in agro processing centres.
Adeogun said the training is to sensitise cassava processors to the need to be healthy and safety conscious, and basically to be able to upgrade their safety standard at their work place.
“Our objective is to ensure upgrading of health and safety standard among our farmers
“We also want to create awareness regarding health standard, environment and safety standard and discourage the unsafe practice in food handling experienced in cassava processing centers
“IFAD-VCDP is also trying to promote safe working environment and aimed at supporting National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) policy on food processing and handling.
“So, we will be teaching the farmers things to put in use in the cause of food processing, the do’s and don’t and what to adopt and what are best practices, in the cause of food processing.
“We are also going to be distributing personal protective equipment for the farmers so that they will be able to practice all the demonstration that they were taught.
“I believe the practices will advance and enhance their safety standards across our processing centres,” Adeogun said.
Mr Adegoke Adekola, a lead consultant from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said keeping healthy and hygienic safety measures in processing centre would promote the garri production.
Adekola also said that keeping the work place healthy and hygienic would help make it easy and attractive for NAFDAC, to approve their centres and products.
He added that agro processor should always follow safety instructions by washing their hands and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) before they begin the processing of garri.
He urged the participant to adhere to working safety instructions in their environment, in order to avoid hazard at work place or areas.
Mr Rafiu Alagbede, one of the participant, commended IFAD-VCDP for the training, saying that the training has helped them to know some unsafe practice at the work area, which are harmful to their health.
“Also, our women too, now know that it is important to cover their hair, wear gloves and cover their nose while processing the cassava to garri or other products,” he said.
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